Some Believe God Had a Hand In Delay of Execution for Georgia Woman


Kelly Gissendaner was scheduled to die at 7 p.m. Monday night, and would have become the first woman to receive the death penalty in Georgia in 70 years.

A crowd of supporters gathered outside the prison in Jackson where Gissendaner was being held. Kara Tragesser, Gissendaner’s friend and former fellow inmate, joined the group. As the minutes passed, Tragesser said one of her friend’s attorneys came out of the prison with Gissendaner on the phone. The group sang “This Little Light Of Mine,” and Tragesser remembers Gissendaner singing along. It started raining, but the crowd refused to budge. At 7 p.m., they bowed their heads in prayer.

It wasn’t until much later into the night that Gissendaner’s supporters heard the news.

The 46-year-old mother’s death had been delayed due to an “abundance of caution,” reportedly because corrections officials found that the sample of the lethal pentobarbital drug they had been planning to use appeared cloudy. It was the second time Gissendaner’s execution had been halted: She was originally scheduled to die on Feb. 25, but the execution was postponed due to inclement weather.

But for Tragesser and the others in the crowd, the latest delay didn’t feel like the result of a legal technicality. Standing outside the prison that night, she couldn’t see it as anything but an act of God.

“I think all of us were just so wanting a miracle to happen. And a lot of the times when you want a miracle, it doesn’t happen and you’re disappointed,” Tragesser told The Huffington Post. “But yesterday, it felt like God was real.”

“I take the Georgia Department of Correction at its word that there was a problem with the drug which was to be used for the injection,” said Jim Wallis, president and founder of Sojourners, a Christian organization focused on social justice. “However, I also believe in providence, and it seems to me that the fact that Kelly’s execution has now been delayed twice — first by weather, then last night by the injection appearing ‘cloudy’ — could be God’s way of giving everyone who is trying to save Kelly’s life more time to do so.”

Gissendaner’s story has gripped religious leaders and death penalty opponents around the country. At the heart of the case is a woman who supporters say has become convinced of her guilt and experienced a radical spiritual transformation while on death row.

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SOURCE: Carol Kuruvilla
The Huffington Post

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